Berean Studies / Ber05 - Patience
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Single Click a triangle below to see the references CT Russell selected for the associated question. The study questions (with the references) are also included as an attached Adobe PDF file at the bottom of this page.
1. What is the importance of Patience as an element of Christian character?
2. What is the common significance of this word?
3. What is the deeper significance of this word as used in Scripture, especially in Rev 3:10 and Luke 8:15?
4. Why is ‘patient-endurance’ so necessary?
R2791 c2 p1,2
THE NECESSITY FOR PATIENT ENDURANCE.
Here the question properly arises, Why is this so? In what sense is such endurance necessary? We answer that it is one of the conditions which God has attached to the call to joint-heirship in the Kingdom, and the wisdom of this is manifest when we consider the work to which we are called--the work of blessing all the families of the earth, as God's Millennial Kingdom, under and in joint-heirship with our Lord. That will be a great work, and it is eminently proper that the Lord should demand that those whom he would account worthy of it shall not only appreciate his goodness and his character, and prefer these to sin and iniquity, but that they should demonstrate their thorough loyalty to these principles to the extent of a joyful willingness to suffer on behalf of right, to endure patiently. A transitory endurance of one or two or three brief trials would not prove the person to have established character for righteousness; but a patient, cheerful endurance even unto death, would prove and demonstrate such a character.
We might illustrate this with the diamond. Suppose that we were able to make diamonds out of some plastic material, so that they would have the full diamond measure of brilliancy; and suppose that they became hard, but not so intensely hard as the diamond, would they have the value of the diamond? By no means. And so with the Christian; if we should suppose him possessed of every grace of character that could possibly belong to the sons of God except this one of firmness, of endurance, he would not be fit to be numbered amongst the Lord's jewels. Hence the Lord's demand is that the quality of firmness, cheerful endurance of whatever his providence may permit, shall be a characteristic of all those who will be fit for the Kingdom.
5. What is the relation between patient- endurance and self-control ?
6. How should we endure our trials and thus ‘possess our souls’?
7. What is the relation between faith and patient-endurance?
8. Why should we ‘glory in tribulation’?
9. What particular thoughts constantly kept in mind will enable us to be ‘patient in tribulation’?
10. Does faithfulness to our covenant of self- sacrifice demand patience?
11. How should we meet persecution and opposition?
12. How can we be ‘patient toward all ‘?
13. Why is there special need of patience in the Harvest of the Gospel age?
R2155 col. 2 ¶1; R2792 col. 2 ¶5 to 2793 col. 1 ¶4
R2155 c2 p1
It is noticeable that the Lord seems to forewarn his people of great need of patience in the "harvest" or end of this age: patience toward fellow men and patience, in the warfare against evil, and in waiting for the Lord's time and method of setting right the wrongs of "the present evil world." The poor world, lacking faith, fortitude, knowledge of the divine plan and patience will fall a ready prey to unrest and anarchy in the near future. The Word of the Lord to his people is,--"Ye have need of patience."
R2792 c2 p5 to 2793 c1 p4
The Apostle counsels us respecting this hour of temptation into which we have just entered. Its besetments and trials will be various, and some of them will be subtle; so deceptive that all who are not thoroughly rooted and grounded in the truth will be carried away from the sure foundation (the ransom) by the false arguments and sophistries of those whom Satan is now permitted to use as his agents in trying all them that dwell upon the face of the whole earth. Amongst these, no testing seems much more subtle than that of Christian Science, which, backed by the Adversary's power, is enabled to promise its perverts that if they will affirm an untruth and stick to it they shall have the reward of relief from certain pains and ailments, and those who have not learned to patiently endure whatever the Lord's providence shall permit, will be ready to accept almost any relief which the Adversary may bring to their attention. And as they learn to deceive themselves in respect to pain and sickness and gradually to pervert words from their real meaning, they finally become so confused in their minds that truth appears to them to be falsehood, and falsehood appears to them to be shining truth, on every subject involved.
They are led into this partly through curiosity. It seems so strange to hear anyone say, "There is no death, all is life! there is no pain, all is health! there is no evil, all is good!" They say to themselves, Altho we know that these are inconsistent statements yet we are curious to know how people reason them out,-- what is their philosophy? This is just what the Adversary desires--to attract their attention, that step by step he may then lead them from one falsity to another, until the whole brain and conscience are subverted; rewarding them with physical relief--small recompense! They have accepted darkness for light, and light thereafter will appear to them darkness. Why? How? Because, first, they are unwilling to patiently endure, and because, secondly, they would not receive the truth, so far as they saw it, with a proper constancy. They would not receive the truth in the love of it, and hence were ready to exchange that which they valued too lightly, either in the quest of curious information, or for the sake of physical healing of troubles which, if endured joyfully, might have worked for them great blessing.
The hour of trial is not coming alike upon all; for all Christendom is not upon the same plane of development, mental, moral, physical, spiritual. The trial, as it is coming upon Christendom in general, is pictured by the Apostle in his letter to Timothy (`2 Tim. 3:1-5`). He here delineates certain characteristics of this hour of temptation, otherwise called the great "time of trouble" coming upon the world; and from his prophetic delineation we see that selfishness will be at the bottom of the matter, and that impatience will be its weapon. The Apostle says, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come; men shall be lovers of their own selves; covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers [enticers to strife], incontinent [not under restraint, impetuous], fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors [cannot be trusted, would sell out their best friends for selfish considerations], heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof."
In his letter to the Thessalonians (`2 Thess. 2:9-12`) the Apostle gives some further intimations respecting the peculiar trials of this hour of temptations, which has come upon the whole world, but which has not yet reached its intensity, and which probably will not reach that intensity in all respects for some years, but which is already working, and sifting, separating,-- because the judgment begins with the house of God. He says, speaking of Satan as the prime mover in the evils of this present time, and especially active in this hour of temptation with which this age shall close, that his effort will be "with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish." Then he explains to us the reason why it will be so, saying, "Because they received not the truth in the love of it, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie, that they all might be condemned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
God's promise is the foundation upon which all that we hope for, either of character or coming glory, is built. Let us prize this truth so that we will not compromise it in any sense or in any degree; let us not only hold the truth in the letter but in the spirit;-- in the love of it, because it is true, as well as because it is beautiful and grand. Holding it thus we will be careful that no one shall twist it for us or pervert it, and equally careful that we do not handle the word of God deceitfully ourselves, to the blinding of our own eyes of understanding, and thus to our own hindrance. And let us ever remember the importance of patient endurance, that we may not only cultivate the Christian graces, and practise them, but that we may take joyfully the trials, persecutions or difficulties which our Lord may see proper to permit to come upon us for our testing and for the development of this character which he explains to us is of paramount importance, and without which perfect love could neither be attained nor maintained.
14. Is it possible to pervert the grace of patience?
15. Why does the Apostle rank patient-endurance above even Love ?
16. What is the relation between patience and ‘enduring hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ’?
17. How are we to run the race for ‘the prize of our high calling of God in Christ Jesus’?
18. Why is patient-endurance the final test ?
19. How is God’s promise to those who ‘keep the word of his patience’ now fulfilled?
20. What lessons do we learn from Jesus’ example of patience?
21. What other notable examples of patience are recorded in Scripture?
22. Is patience an essential quality in an Elder?
23. How can we cultivate patient-endurance?
24. What additional thoughts are suggested by reference to the Topical Indexes of ‘ Heavenly Manna ‘ and the ‘ Watch Tower Bible ‘?